Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood turned up at a protest camp on the outskirts of Chester to show her support for campaigners opposed to unconventional gas extraction. 

Dame Vivienne, 73, who is taking part in a UK wide tour called ‘We Need to Talk About Fracking’, was being filmed for a TV documentary when she took part in a discussion with camp residents around an open fire off Duttons Lane, Upton, where Dart Energy wants to explore for coal bed methane (CBM).

 

People living in the tented village, including local residents and campaigners from further afield, aim to stop Dart’s plans by civil resistance if necessary. They are against promoting more hydrocarbons because of the impact on global warming and fear the environmental effects of CBM extraction – although in the UK this does not usually involve fracking which is more associated with shale gas.

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Dame Vivienne told those assembled: “I’m here because I’m on the tour and I’m here right now in this field because, and I do just want to reiterate something I’ve said before, but it’s wonderful to be able to say it in person, that I respect so much and I want to thank so much the people who are here occupying these tents in this field because fracking is a national problem, of course it’s world problem, an American problem, and it’s absolutely vital we stop climate change.

“And I believe we need to win this campaign against fracking because that is going to contribute to it, so it’s the legacy for our future, people in future, not me, I’ll be dead, but for our children and for the earth itself.”

Born in  Tintwistle, Derbyshire, Dame Vivienne explained that her village used to belong to Cheshire and she was familiar with this part of the world.

“I used to live in Cheshire as a child and I moved to London when I was 17 and now they’ve changed the boundary because when we were at school, Cheshire, they used to tell us, was the shape of a teapot, the Wirral was the peninsula and our little bit was the handle in the corner, which is near to the Snake Pass, and now they’ve changed the boundary and Tintwistle isn’t quite in there any more.

“But we used to come here on our school trips and my father used to work at one point at De Havilland (now Airbus), making aircraft, and he used to come home at the weekends so we used to be told all about the salt and the half-timber houses and go by the Dee on some of our trips and I think this part of the world is so beautiful, especially where I lived in the Pennines. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

Last month protesters took their campaign to HQ in Chester to confront councillors at an Executive meeting of Cheshire West and Chester Council.